Kenyan police abuse refugees

2010-06-17 20:14
Nairobi - A global human rights group said on Thursday that Kenyan police are raping, beating and arbitrarily deporting Somali refugees fleeing the chaos in their country.

Human Rights Watch said some Kenyan government officials also have fuelled the police abuses with anti-Somali rhetoric. Kenya hosts the largest number of Somali refugees in the world.

"People fleeing the mayhem in Somalia, the vast majority women and children, are welcomed to Kenya with rape, whippings, beatings, detention, extortion, and summary deportation," said Gerry Simpson, refugee researcher for Human Rights Watch and principal author of Thursday's report.

The Kenyan Cabinet minister in charge of the police said the government will investigate the allegations.

"Any unlawful action that may have been taken by a police officer is not a reflection of government policy," said George Saitoti, Kenya's Minister of State for Internal Security, in a May 5 letter to Human Rights Watch after seeing a summary of the report.

The report is based on interviews in March with more than 100 refugees. It includes the testimony of a mother of four children who said that her pleas for mercy were ignored by two police officers who gang-raped her with her 12-day-old baby nearby.

"One of them kicked me on the right side. I fell over with my baby. Then he raped me, with my baby on the ground close by. Then one of the other two men raped me. The third man stood close by," said the mother, who entered Kenya with her children in February.

The report argues that the "organised nature of the police's extortion racket and abuses" is the direct result of Kenya's three-year closure of its border with Somalia.

The border was closed in January 2007 to prevent Islamists fleeing Somalia from entering. But the closure also has blocked many refugees, forcing tens of thousands of Somalis to use smuggling networks to cross into Kenya.

Before its closure, Somalis sought asylum at a border town, where the UN's refugee agency transported them to a sprawling, dirty collection of camps about 80km away. The three camps were built to hold 90 000 refugees but as of May had 320 000 asylum seekers.

Somalia has been plagued by fighting and humanitarian suffering for nearly two decades since warlords overthrew longtime dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned on each other.

The weak Somali government controls only a small bit of the capital, Mogadishu, and is battling Islamic insurgents. The lawlessness has allowed the piracy trade to flourish off Somalia's coastline and some 3.7 million people - nearly half of the population - need aid.

Read more on:    kenya  |  east africa

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Inside News24

 
/News
 

The driverless luxury car of the future!

Watch this video of the Mercedes Benz F 015 concept car, the company’s vision of a driverless future.

 
 

Luxury living

WATCH: Private luxury island for sale!
10 of the most ridiculous celebrity purchases, that cost millions!
Karl Lagerfeld spotted with custom gold Apple Watch
The most luxurious dog house!
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may have extra responsibilities you need to deal with right now and you need to create the necessary boundaries and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.